A mother is accused of immersing her 2-year-old son's hands in boiling water then failing to seek medical treatment for at least eight months.
The toddler is understood to have suffered severe burns and deformities, and will need extensive skin graft surgery for the wounds.
The abuse is alleged to have happened at the family's Porirua East house sometime before Christmas.
The 31-year-old woman denies inflicting the injuries and claims they resulted from an accident.
The wounds were discovered by authorities by chance when police called on the child's home on August 1 seeking witnesses to a minor vehicle accident on the street. A police officer saw the boy's hands and contacted Child Youth and Family and the Wellington Police District Child Protection Team.
The woman was arrested on September 6, appeared in court and was granted interim name suppression. She faces two charges of cruelty and ill-treatment of a child, and one of wounding with reckless disregard causing grievous bodily harm.
Part of the cruelty charge relates to failing to provide medical attention for the boy's severe wounds.
It is understood the child would have required morphine for the pain.
Team manager Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Holden said the child was now in CYF care. A 3-month-old baby - his sibling - had also been placed in state care.